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May 21, 2013

Young team full of potential has Clark excited about Lakers future

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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Young team full of potential has Clark excited about Lakers future
The West Bloomfield High soccer team prepares for a game earlier this spring. Even with 14 underclassmen on the roster, the Lakers are playing good soccer as the playoffs approach.

He had been down this road before, navigated through seasons just like this.

It wasn’t too long ago when Jason Clark had a West Bloomfield High girl soccer roster with more freshmen and sophomores on it than anything else.

That team took its lumps.

Two years later, those same girls were division champs.

If Clark gets his way, that cycle is about to play out again.

“We’re a big work in progress, and we know that,” Clark said last week of his 2013 squad. “We’re learning lessons every single time out. But that’s fine. They’re getting better for it.”

Youth defines the Lakers this season.

Fourteen girls on the roster are underclassmen, and at any given time, five freshmen are in the starting lineup.

“It’s a lot more coaching,” Clark said with a laugh. “The bulk of the season has been trying to figure each other out.”

Since winning a division title a few years ago, the swing in age has been in effect.

With only a few veterans on the roster, the Lakers were 3-12-2 last season.

The team has taken its proverbial lumps again this season, but has played better of late.

At press time, the girls were 4-6-3.

“We played one of our best games of the season a week or so ago against Berkley High,” Clark said of a scoreless tie. “Things are really coming together.”

And at the perfect time.

West Bloomfield is set to open the state playoffs at 7 p.m. May 28 at Milford High.

The winner faces a Walled Lake Central team the Lakers have tied once this season already.

However things play out, though, Clark, as he was in the past, said he’s in it for the long haul.

“I plan on the long-term growth of this program,” he said. “I’ve been here five years, and it seems like it always takes two or three years to build this up. When we won the league in 2011, it was with a group who had to go through the growing pains first. I’m excited about this group and the potential they have. They’ve been thrown in the fire, but I think they’ll come out of it on the other end with some special things to remember.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.